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Sunday Bantering: Blue Jays Spring Training Invitees

The Blue Jays announced their non-roster “internal” invitees to their Major League Spring Training camp yesterday.

They are inviting:

7 Pitchers:

Javy Guerra: They just signed Javy to a minor league contract yesterday. He pitched for the Marlins last year, 32 games, 5.55 ERA. 35.2 innings, 42 hits, 12 walks and 30 strikeouts. He’s played 201 major league games, spread over 8 seasons. Career ERA is 3.42. Walks more than you would like and doesn’t strikeout all that many, but the career 0.59 home runs per 9 innings looks good. Ground ball pitcher (45.2% career). FanGraphs says he averaged 93.7 mph on his 4-seam fastball. Also throws a slider and curve.

Zach Jackson: He was number 19 on our top 40 prospect list last year (our new list should be coming out in the next couple of weeks). He had a 2.47 ERA pitching out of the bullpen in New Hampshire last year and had 75 strikeouts in 62 innings. I’d be surprised if we don’t see him at some point this year.

Mark Leiter: We know way too much about him.

Shawn Morimando: We signed him to a minor league deal in the middle of last season. He’s a 26-year-old lefty. Has pitched 925.2 minor league innings (3.64 ERA, 694 strikeouts), almost all as a starter. and 4.2 major league innings.

Willy Ortiz: A recent minor league signing. 23-year-old right-hander, pitched in the Rays system for 7 season. 4.16 ERa in 367.2 innings. 272 strikeouts.

Justin Shafer: He was number 39 on our top 40 prospect list last year (he won’t be on the list this year as he’s turned 26). He made it to Toronto to pitch 8.1. He had that one really good outing, 3 innings, no hits, no runs, 1 walk, 1 k, against the Phillies in late August. But, he walked 7 in those 8 innings. He had a 1.13 ERA split between New Hampshire and Buffalo. Another I’m sure we’ll see some this season.

T.J. Zeuch: Number 8 on our prospect list last year. A 6’7” right-hander, had a 3.17 ERA in 27 starts split between Dunedin and New Hampshire last year. A good spring would put him in line to get a call up when we need a spot starter.

2 Catchers:

Patrick Cantwell: 28-year-old career minor leaguer, to this point. Hit .276/.386/.433 for the Fisher Cats last year. He’s played 380 minor league games.

Max Pentecost: He was 27th on our prospect list last year. He’s been sliding down the list over the years, mostly due to injuries. Got into 89 games last year, all with the Fisher Cats, 77 of them at catcher. He was having a poor year with the bat until he turned things around in August, hitting .375/.381/.650 in 80 at bats. He’s likely 6th or so on our catching depth chart, but, if he hits well, he would move up.

5 Infielders:

Bo Bichette: You know enough about him.

Cavan Biggio: The Jays have been playing him all over the field, so he has a shot of coming up at some point as a utility guy. He 26 home runs in New Hampshire (and 2 more in the Fall League) last year. He was 34th on our prospect list last year, he’ll be higher this year.

Santiago Espinal: Came from Boston in the Steve Pearce trade. Hit a combined .297/.356/.444 with 10 home runs in 124 games spread between 3 minor league teams and 2 franchises last year. Jays scouting director, Steve Sanders, said:

Athletic body, moved pretty well in the middle infield, had some gap power, could get down the line pretty well as a runner. We were certainly intrigued by the tool-set and felt he had a chance to provide some value in the middle of the infield.

Looking forward to seeing him play, but since RSN isn’t showing many spring games, that might not happen soon.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr: Somebody’s son or something. You’d think there would be some information out there about him.

Eric Sogard: He was a minor league signing, back in December. He’s had 8 seasons in the majors with the A’s and Brewers. Career .238/.309/.314 batting line. Has a shot at the utility infielder job. He’s 32 now. It is a bad sign for the season if he gets a lot of at bats.

1 Outfielder

Forrest Wall: Came to the Jays in the Seung-hwan Oh trade with the Rockies. He was a top prospect a couple of years ago (Number 90 on Minor League Baseball’s top 100 prospects list in 2016). He’s just 23, a left-handed hitting outfielder. Last year he hit .263/.343/.402 with 10 home runs in 128 games, split between 3 minor league teams. Career, in 414 minor league games, he’s hit .276/.353/.453. He stole 38 bases last year. Another one I’m curiouse to see, if RSN could give up some of the poker/darts programming they seem to prefer over spring training baseball.

I’m thinking there will be some more minor league deals signed over the next couple of weeks (especially some relief pitchers) who will add some names 00to this list.

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